Plant of the week: Onopordium acanthium

Seeing as it’s Burn’s Night at the end of the week I thought it only fitting to herald this week’s spotlight to the Scotch Thistle. Growing up we had a Scotch thistle that would grow over 6ft then sprout somewhere else in the garden the following year. It was a perfect lesson in seed dispersal at school and it was always fun trying to guess where the Scotch thistle would grow next.

plant flower pink wildflower
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Technically a weed, the Scotch thistle’s subtle beauty and prominent size makes it difficult for gardeners to pull up. Bees love the purple flowering heads and the velvety leaves make for extra texture in a sensory garden. They also create a statuesque structure in your garden for interest, well after the flowers have bloomed.

It is unclear why the thistle became the National Flower of Scotland but one legend is that the spikes were trodden on by a Norse soldier who then cried out in pain and woke the sleeping Scots army!